Beam’s self-titled debut album pays homage to the gently psychedelic folk-pop of the late sixties with enough originality to pull it off without sounding ‘retro’ or ‘retreaded.’ Led by Helene Renaut, a French ex-pat who busked gypsy songs on the violin to finance a move to San Francisco in 1995, Beam wears it’s eclectic pop sensibility on it’s sleeve, smoothly flowing from driving baroque pop to dreamy canyon rock.
Beam’s songs are full of complex, brooding melodies and dark psychedelia but Helene also understands the payoff of a good hook. Singing mostly in English, she tells her stories of love, loss, and renewed hope in a voice that is world-weary and yet still recklessly naïve. Beam’s self-titled debut features performances from members of Call and Response, Subtle/Themselves (anticon), the Moore Brothers, and Cat Five. It was recorded by Jeremy Goody and Mikel Garmendia (Beam’s lead guitarist), the duo responsible for recording Mikel’s other band, Winfred E. Eye.